Two weeks ago I posted that I hope that couple has a baby on another site. People went crazy. It was hilarious. There was one project of hers-Enron-that I had followed and her claimed role in the project did not match up with memory. Researched and found discrepancies. And the discrepancies multiplied. From that point onward I have been doubtful. And started to pay more attention to the timing of certain statements in the press by BC and how they seemingly correspond to criticism on multiple Internet sites and Twitter.
I am an auditor. Discrepancies attract my attention. So, my stance and why I joined others on the PR train-if your words and actions consistently contradict each other, there is usually a reason. Maybe the two wacky kids are hot for each other. But up until last night, body language and words have been painful to watch. And I am trained in that kind of thing to be able to spot when I am being lied to. Now in fairness, the job is a hard one to drop and it is hard to drop the High Inquisitor attitude in personal life.
But knowing how corporations and law enforcement use social media to their advantage and monitor activity-well, not far fetched to me that an actor who is known for an active internet fan base uses it to manipulate image and respond to criticism during awards season. I think all fandoms react the same when their fave finds a significant other. Its pretty much the norm, but with social media the fandoms view and opinion are magnified. Can you please and I meant it in a non-ironic and genuine way tell me how to describe it better?
English is not my first language so sometimes I am a bit limited in the ways I can express my thoughts. I just feel it inappropriate for someone like BC, too. They are not his fans but they know every single move, word and even thought BC had, has and will have.
What happened while I was way? Why is everyone arguing? What happened to the happy people who used to post here when I started.? Give me a break… He neds to come down the pedestal, and so does SH…. It just drives me nuts when people make these statements. But when you look at all the facts, verified with video and times, it comes across as PR-driven, tightly controlled for image making, and contrived. They are so quick to call you a troll just because you are calling out their incredibly transparent behavior.
The comments on every Benedict post are all bashing this woman incessantly, nitpicking every tiny detail of their interactions, building on conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory and attacking anyone who says she is pretty or insinuates that they could possibly gasp have a non-PR relationship! No opinion on Benedict as a person really but the reaction from fans here has been like watching a trainwreck — 3 parts horror, 1 part entertainment. No one has ever been called a troll. Melancholia please see my post way down below.
It was written as a question to other posters with differing viewpoints, such as yourself. Or were you being sarcastic? I miss the old days when we just shanked and poisoned each other in BC threads. The long post was to give some perspective as to why myself, and others, side eye this relationship. And I agree, it is more mature to have a discussion. They want to paint a very one sided picture of posters.
So if you have a different point of view, that is cool. In the great scheme of life, none of us are impacted by the story of the Otter and the Octopus. It is a fun distraction. If you want to approach the fun from a different view point, and throw in other tidbits about different aspects of pop,culture, cool. But for the people who come to this board and spew vitriol about these posters being middle age ladies crying into their pillow cases about the engagement, well, yes, they are trolls.
Thanks for replying. As a fence-sitter so pretty objectivewhat I was taken aback by was your sensitivity to insults to your side, while simultaneously dismissing the insults your side was dishing out to others. But if you recognize that some people not you! On a slightly related note, I watched Wreckers last night. Recommended strictly for the prettiness of Ben. The movie itself is alright, its not award quality, but he really can play the tenderness so well, even if the character is pained.
I did laugh when I saw that since so many people commented on their limp hand holding. She seems to be leading to me. I also noticed in that gif from nyc where karon is telling them to keep posing, SH has her arm behind his back and pushes him back into position to pose again.
But the difference her demeanour is very jarring. All the toothy smiling. Is it me or, I think they are just never in the same page, different direction, either one is constantly one step forward. To recap last night: Karon: jawseyes Benedict: jawseyes Sodious: smile, laugh, lean. Look at me. I saw that pic. Her fingers are just hanging out. I would have expected a solitaire from the Otter. I think they will make cute babies and beyond that I will feast on the gossip.
Do average Americans really care if an actor is engaged, divorced, married, etc when considering whether to watch a movie or not? Pathetic but true.
Not all viewers, obviously, but a very vocal minority of them. Thanks MissMary. About an out and proud lesbian? Controversial because some people will rage to the skies about their rights being trodden upon because the movie came out though no one forces them to see it. Do they also believe that homosexuality is contagious and could be transmitted through screen? Anny: By and large, no.
Sadly, some industries listen to them, or some sub-sections of industries do. Heh I find it quite puzzling too. Whoops I missed your latest reply before I posted. But PR for Oscars, that makes more sense to me. But they may not go as far as giving Best Actor to a gay actor. It is just so sad. This powerful conservative Hollywood clique sounds like a nightmare. I know a couple of Americans IRL and they are incredible, open minded and very positive people.
Some people are just so incredibly ignorant and yes, we get ignorant politicians here too. But I am glad I understand how HW and the awards work better now. It is really dumb. THAT is the kind of prejudices I abhor even if he is my brother and why sexuality in Hollywood is such a big thing. And its those kind of people that PR tries to pander to when it comes to homosexuality.
Curioser: Really? That is really terrible attitude. Well his loss, that actor that plays Sheldon is wonderful. Solanaceae: No offence taken. Yes, it is a bit naive. But our president is a real piece of work.
As for Marseille — now that is truly horrific. I agree that issues are everywhere. Sadly we found out in last 25 years that not even democracy can guarantee equal rights for everyone.
So yeah, I agree that even though me and my fellow citizens learned a lot it is still quite unsettling for me to discover that in the USA a gay actor has to have a beard to be successful and more marketable. Just the mere idea of it is disgusting. Oh Anny, I wish I was making it up, but unfortunately, no.
My brother has 3 beautiful kids and what frightens me the most is him passing his prejudices onto them. And yes, he is missing out on some wonderful work by being a close minded douche, but you cant tell him that.
The timing of the announcement, one week before his big press tour of America, put him on the cover of People, major websites, newspapers etc. It gave them something else to talk about and got his name continually in the media conversation.
Then he shows up with her 2 weeks later, for the first time, in the US- more pics and press. Ugh, these two are confusing as hell. Like Sophie and her flower power dresses or we want to see some kissing action between them and bamb! PDA all round. A full on leopard print suit. They symbolize the formality and commitment of plighting your troth to another. Leopard print and top hat. Everyone is wearing them.
Teaming them with nice pointed boots. I kind of want her to wear the leopard print and Benedict to wear zebra stripes. Are you there, PR Gods? No pressure or anything. MissMary: do you think they could mime an entire Starsky and Hutch episode down the red carpet? Oh please let that happen. Oh, wow! Looks at that dress! I guess she has an edgy style to add to her class and sophistication.
Like too boring. But this is excellent! Anyway — I approve! Look at this comment! DID i do it right? Miss Mary- the leopard print- YES.
Like Aldo Nova in his Fantasy video. If you have not seen it, please do so. The cmnts in the latest DM article are pure gold!! Read the best rated ones. And tell me here. When DM comments change, then you know things are starting to crack. They went from gushing to bashing in no time.
The DM comments are changing because they are being written by posters from this site. There are two or three repeat commenters, on the DM site, who are using the exact same phrases and the exact same conspiracy nonsense that is being said here. God, really? I think that is much more likely than having them be posting at the Fail.
And so what if they are? There is no law to state that we cant post our theories elsewhere. Saying he wants to be private, but bringing the engagement up at every damn opportunity without prompting in some cases reeks of hypocrisy. Ok… I guess people only post in one site,never in more than one….
I really do believe BC has saturated the media, has been repeatedly saying one thing and doing the other, and more people are starting to notice. People who post the exact same wording on both? Too many to read them all, really…. TIG got zero nominations. I would love for him to be successful but I do believe he could do with some healthy perspective, if what all of you are saying is true. I still think he would get an Oscar nomination though. Steve Carell and Foxcatcher, another contender, is nowhere to be seen at the critics awards.
But right now, I think he is fine. Toodles — I completely agree. He needs to get perspective. The desperation is truly off-putting at the moment. He has the Emmy and TIG is successful. He needs a few disappointments as well to keep grounded. But major award voters are more conservative than critics so I would think TIG will have some success there.
Beth — GG nom is certain. They have 10 spots comedy and drama. But I think he will get the noms. Yep I agree GG nom is certain. More prone to being bought, and more spots Birdman and Inherent Vice could go to the comedy category etc. I think he should just dump Sophie. She has so much bad energy around her and has made BC look so stupid that I think he should just cut his losses and be rid of her. The way she behaves in public, including red carpet events, is astounding. She went to a posh school: she has more than the proper breeding to behave herself like her age, not her shoe size.
She knows. There are several possibilities. She knows she has the upper hand in the relationship and can manipulate him and make him look bad as much as she wants which would mean his feelings for her are genuine and deep. She has a severe inferiority complex and feels the need to make up for it with arrogance I know a bully at my work who displays just this type of behaviour all the time but only to people she knows she can get away with it.
Or she has some kind of personality disorder. None of the above are exclusive of one another. I just noticed they kind of match here: she is in leather and he is in all black They look nice together.
Hey May23, why do you only comment M-F during normal working hours? Oh, overtime…. Got it…. Apparently someone asked SoGo about the teacher engagement thing item Moodgirl says she saw there weeks ago. SoGo says she never posted anything like that before the tweets.
Weird cause I was pretty certain I saw it too. I keep seeing it pop up. Pr can be sneaky that way. Benny if you know you saw it and moodgirl also saw it, it was there. One person you can discount, two? Do you remember the wording, even approximately? I said this about eggs a couple weeks ago: the person who runs that blog popped up at a convenient time, and disappeared at a convenient time. Are the people who run these obsessive gossip blogs just fans, or are they setup to publish information that always incidentally ends up in tabloids a few weeks later?
Too much coincidence, I know, plus the amount of time running these sites is not small. I think one of them said worked as a teacher? Please do be skeptical about this one though. But a lavish engagement party is perfect PR at a critical moment. If they can fake an engagement, surely they can fake a party.
They really are on a crisis management mode. Can it be faked? Yeah but faked to include a wide net of friends and associates? Benny if it was just reposting up to posts a day, not really. You can do it on a lunch break if you worked or studied FT. But posting with commentary? Either an obsessed fan or someone associated with him who wants to closely monitor what people say and think of his love life. No one skeptical of this sham is really overprotective of their tumblr identities.
Kazlock here is kazlock there for example. But those gossip outlets never make mention of coming here or any other outlet. His or her teacher? Now that you mention I recall hearing something secondhand on here about it maybe?
I knew it sounded familiar. And some people are maybe obsessed fans, with jobs where they work from home and maybe start projects that turn out to be more work than they imagined. Hypothetically speaking of course. I may end up eating my words with that big grain of salt I keep offering but I think this is still PR, no secret wedding, etc. Too publicly known by fans? I knew it was nonsense when I read it and never gave it a second thought.
ER, his big competition, has a wedding? ER plans to sing to his bride? Well, BC will serenade her on the piano! They pull a knife, you pull a gun—oh, wait, sorry, wrong script. The timing of these sites, some Twitter accounts specifically devoted to the Octopus and the Otter and harassing of people who spot them? Conspiracy is far too harsh of a term, but suspect PR involved to some degree.
I mean, PR pays web sites and paparazzi to snap photos in a positive light. Why are gossip boards, tumblr postings, and Twitter accounts different? Likewise, the rest of the article is lots of conclusions based on nothing.
I agree. You can easily see PR coming here and adjusting scripted answers, but the dresses were nothing more than proof she had some kind of arrangement with the designer. Have you lovely ladies seen Amal bump photos? She looks like 7 months pregnant. I mean maybe it was possible that she was but something unfortunately happened. I really hope she never was because that would be a really tragic thing to go to during an awards campaign. Then the tiff on the red carpet happened and the tide started to turn.
What we are really seeing is a dose of humble pie. Honestly you should listen to them as you can tell that the real Benedict is still underneath thank god. Desperately trying to maintain a shred of decency and authenticity whilst having to be party to the biggest lie in his entire life.
When he has to talk about anything other than work, you can see that he is a sad and lonely person stuck in this nightmare. He is a small fish in a big pond and the price you have to pay in this game is a costly one. IMO The mistake he made was underestimating how far this PR game would go and now he has no choice but to stick it out until the oscars. If not for him, for all the people who have worked on the film who really deserve the attention for their hard work.
I am sure that the sick irony of this hypocrisy, as well as the real integrity of Alan Turing is not lost on him. The main message of his speech whilst fighting back the tears was that despite appearances he does still believe in integrity, authenticity and an independent spirit — and he is still there underneath.
Yeah we know why. In more ways than one. Although a warning: you will feel sorry for him if you listen to some of his interviews. Dear god I hope you are right! He pays attention, he critiques, and he demands. I apologize for placing HW at the event, I truly thought that I had read it from a reliable site. Remember the ex stage hand that either presented or won something? How he saw Keira go from a breakfast at tiffanys type to a mousy self after. He mentioned something about seeing a bloated?
Harvey W there too with his wheeling and dealing. It was during the livestream. Not sure if it can be found now. Thanks for this perspective, Lightbulb.
I love and miss Ben. Its so easy to look right past the obvious, even when its screaming at you. Oh sweet Lord! And if so, what does that tell you about your little otter?
I have never really given this much thought-it is a little base-but if he is at least he is getting something out of this. By the way, if this is a repeat post apologize to all but Harvey. Your comment makes me sad. You sound so unhappy and bitter about all this — like your world is full of nothing but the image of bc groaning and fornicating.
So all I hope is the filming of THC goes well and he could get as much sleep as possible. Nice post Lightbulb. I agree with most of what you say. He looks so sad lately, all is not well in the state of Cumberbatch. What you say about BC feeling an obligation to the rest of the cast and crew of TIG makes a lot of sense.
He may also feel obligated to HW. He will say the pressure of Hamlet and Dr. Strange strained their relationship. I respect that though. I just think he has a lot of layers to him and I think an autobiography at the cusp of his retirement would be amazing. With a likely engagement party on the way, I think you lovely ladies need to brace yourselves for a cruel reality, even if it makes little sense and is not ideal or worthy for an actor we admire.
I just said that his work is his one true love so either way I doubt it will last long. I would love to eat a large helping of crow someday. Felice Yes, he does love acting. And if there is a wedding, good luck to them. Do not wish anything one ill will. Now, does that mean I think, if real, this is the healthiest relationship in Christendom?
Hells no. But not my problem. And if he looks miserable now, how do expect him to look on his wedding day?!?!? God help him if he actually goes through with it.
I think he is stuck. Perhaps he wants his wedding to be private because he knows it will be a hot mess. Do you think that she would be okay sitting on her bum knitting onesies while he is doing Sherlock, Dr. Strange, and Hamlet all of next year? Why would a party necessarily lead to an immediate wedding?
Have the party, too busy with work to stage wedding, drift farther apart, schedule conflicts, finito! Get out of it unscathed.
Although lord only knows if the bride is knocked up? I just want to add my 2 cents into the mix about genuinely wanting BC to be happy. I just really like this guy as an actor, he seems to be a decent person, and for someone who desperately wanted to be a father several years ago, I hope he can still find a lady whom he is crazy about and who gives him beautiful babies. Its interesting that people are gradually taking the initiative away from newspaper reports and learn to think for themselves.
With social media and other sites we can do our own digging and certain newspapers start to look very silly. I just hope that the next generation of actors fight against prejudice in the business and take on the bullies.
I have a question: why is it so offensive for people to question this relationship? I do not understand. But for those attacking posters here and insinuating we are posting on DM site and others because we are voicing these opinions, I ask yo this: why do our opinions frighten you that you feel the need to attack? Why do you assume that middle age women sit at home with nothing to do but pine for actors who we will never meet? Do you not think we have outgrown the Prince Charming phase of our life?
Are you afraid you will never meet your own prince, and are fearful that this actor, who you have cast as a prince in your storyline you have created for him and his seemingly chosen princess, might not exist? Real lives. I know I have one. And I have a career and have a successful career. Bet they fit that bill too. So if you have a different view point on this situation, why is your first approach to attack and tear us down? Did you stop to think our observations are based on our experiences, and we are applying them to what we observe?
That these posts get the comment volume because we see patterns and warning flags that show something is off with this relationship and the signs are there that is driven somewhat by PR? Now, are we over invested. But it is darn good gossip and entertaining. Cheers scarf girl!! LOL I like to think Code:Breaker / Uncle P - Saturated EP (Vinyl) have a semblance of a real life.
Like having a career, responsibilities, and a, you know, life that leads us to form our own thoughts and opinions and not drink Kool Aide. And that was a mistake for two reasons: 1 I cannot walk and read my iPad at the same time and 2 never really realized how young and invested the fan base is in the Otter and the Octopus until tonight. When I was young, I just never cared who actors I liked were dating. These girls are hysterical. I remember being a fan-michael hutchence was my crush and he dated helena Christensen at the time.
But never got hysterical about it, or wrote journal entries praising undying love of a couple I would never meet. I remember wanting to learn all about her — not feeling critical about him dating her, just thought she was sooo lucky. I had no idea that he was addicted to everything under the sun or that he was a playboy, the way the Code:Breaker / Uncle P - Saturated EP (Vinyl) bopper mags made them out to be.
Oh the naivety…. MtnRunner: You should Google Julie Anne Rhodes if you get a chance, what a cool and interesting woman she turned out to be!
Now her I was deadly jealous of…. GG, just looked her up. She looks like a cool lady. I think he should be knighted just for that! There does seem to be a fear of having their beloved actor called out for doing something douchey, making an error in judgement or otherwise shown to be a flawed human.
Why are they so afraid of criticism? Why are any of us? I purposely choose friends who look at things from a different angle so I can gain a broader perspective than my own point of view.
There are some smart and funny ladies who make very valid points out of their life experiences and I benefit from them. Unfortunately, too many women think that supporting someone means you never criticize them. If you actually want to see someone do well, then you care enough to point out what may beholding them back from achieving their goals or happiness. Thanks Claire. If they can counter the criticism with a thoughtful rebuttal or bring something new to light, then great.
Just empty, emotional and useless words. Going to have to bust out my vinyl Rio while working out this morning. Nighy I really hope this post comes around yours otherwise it will make no sense: I like him when he was a cartoon in the video.
Scarf Girl, yes. No one likes to feel on the outside. I peek at the DM from time to time when someone mentions an article here and I too have noticed the shift in comments to the negative. It infuriates me no end that women are subjugated in this way. Disregarding their less than smiley, flowery cutesy opinions as nothing but superficial bitterness, usually based on rather superficial elements.
Actually I just talked with a year-old male friend, who works in the media, last Sunday about this. An important part of their lives depends on the internet and BC is sort of GOD to them, he is all good, you could never question his choice.
The RL is too complicated, people are too sophisticated to them, they choose only to see what they want to see, to believe what they want to believe. Yes, just one look at the women who are preoccupied by this engagement and you can tell their headspace is preoccupied by fantasies of them as a couple.
The thing is, the more you live in your own little world, the more you feel people in real life intolerable, thus even more difficult to establish relationship in real life. I actually feel a bit sorry for them, as you said that they may not have much idea what a real relationship is like. Angie, as an American I can tell you that your English is quite understandable. I agree, that the lack of real life experience causes them to idealize their celebrity idols and hence why they get defensive when we older, more experienced women can spot the cracks in the persona or call them out on their douchey behavior.
Angie, I guessed Asian due to the anglicized username. Yes, it is interesting how similar our perspectives may be, despite cultural, religious and sociological differences. I do have a life,career and a pretty husband prettier than BC who asks me whats the latest movie dominic cumberbatch is starring in?
This posts come when m having a break work or in between cooking. I think I have made some grt anonymous frnds with u guys. And I really like the fact that our fault finding with BCSH relationship is pricking in the nannies pants. Oh what a joy!! I say dnt get bothered with haters and keep voicing our opinions.
I also think they want to believe the fairytale exists. Some of the posts I read last night…. Oh, how I appreciate this site and the excuse to delay the morning workout but sat most of the day yesterday and have meeting butt. Sorry I missed so many interesting posts yesterday.
Too much life experience to convince me otherwise. But on a serious note but not really I may take a page from datalounge and just post the monty python spam skit whenever one of these whiny girls comes on here.
I do agree with Lucifer that it is best not to engage because they are not open to reason I will always be open to more Monty Python in my life.
This one is horrific. I actually loved that floral dress. Now that one was awful. All I want to say is this kind of internet monitoring, an interaction footage after a throwing tantrum footage? Would be interested if anyone can find any footage of continuation of angry body language like slapping hands away or dropping hands like dead weight the moment the paps are out of view. If my theory is right, that footage is from the moment they saw each other for the first time in days.
And so do close friends. He was obviously exhausted and that? They always look like some people barely know each other. That would be utterly ridiculous otherwise. Maybe we will get a break. My Twitter feed is full of the happy couple, who appear to be on every fashion mags best dressed list for the weekend. And while they are not, you know, Iced T and his wife CoCo, I just question if they are one of the best dressed. Is this a harbinger that manufactures and disposable fashion stores are going to make grown women wear Peter Pan collars?
I thought only Madewell was trying that trend. Utterly utterly bizarre. The whole thing is weird AF. The media is trying to make her a celebrity. She is definitely not shy.
The campaign is only starting. That was so laughable. I am happy for them. I long for simpler times when Sharon Stone was able to wear a Gap top paired with an Oscar de la Renta or Valentino skirt.
I have a differing opinion, but to each their own. She whispers something to him and he smiles at her, right behind him and to my disbelief you could even see Karon smiling. Also, when I watched another video of them posing together they stop to move down the carpet and she says something that makes him laugh.
Just needed somewhere to say that. It seemed overly cute for someone like him. But he was taking the piss a bit I think. He knows the spotlight is on the engagement and what BC has to do. And second, the thing about Joaquin Phoenix pretending to be engaged.
Lainey brought Dr. Implied: Not like BC…. Latest Comments. Open top menu Advertise Writers Contact. Mikasa says:.
December 8, at am. Ladybird83 says:. December 8, at pm. Mary-Alice says:. Green Girl says:. Granger says:. Lizzy says:. Froop says:. Lucifer says:. Beth says:. Angie says:. Sheena says:. Lindy79 says:. Lilacflowers says:. Claire says:. Luciana says:. PrettyBlueFox says:. A mascarada says:. Hez says:. Ingrid says:. Cornish Pixie says:. Green Eyes says:.
Soothy says:. NewWester says:. NYer says:. December 10, at am. Moore says:. Janet says:. Lollipop says:. Anony says:. Abbott says:. Kiddo says:. Sixer says:. But also in Minami Soma a deputy principal of a high school dismissed the claims made by the government that, with the cold shutdown an nounced on December 15, the nuclear crisis was now over. Though his school had reopened in October when declared safe following a fast-paced cleanup, the principal was not convinced: TTiis does not ring true for us at all.
By December, only of students had returned. Speaking of the Daiichi Nuclear Plant, but also his town and the country too perhaps, he said the plant is like a black box, and we dont know what is really hap pening. I feel no relief Tabuchi 2 0 1 1. And then, rumbling potentially underfoot, is the threat o f another large-scale earthquake with the possibility o f another tsunami.
The leader of the volunteer operation I haci joined, Peace Boat, stood in front of us, also in boots. It came at the end of his speech about how to work hard, greet any residents, and be respectful of the area and people who had suffered so much. Then, not mincing words, he told us to be prepared because another earthquake would come one day soon. Pointing his finger to the hill behind him, he gestured to where we should run if a tsunami hit: Run up the hill.
And run fast. This condition of uncertainty, of rumbling instability, a terrain mud diedby debris, contamination, death is what Japanese face as their country moves forward in this second decade of the twenty-first century. As the recent crisis has shown, the country is on a fault line. No longer a super stable society and not yet one that has contained the damage and threat of its nuclear accident.
Rather, it is one facing the challenge of pre carity of multiple kinds. Can we really call this precarious situation a cold shutdown? Almost certainly not. But just asking the question, as so many more Japanese are doing these days, is a sign of something new.
It speaks of an emerging and spreading skepticism toward the government, its procla mations of safety and control, and social institutions that have been run ning on certain expectations and logics hierarchy and dependency that may no longer make sense.
And, in some cases at least, trying out new tactics and resistances to survive precarious times. Uncertainty is unset tling. But contending with it, going into the mud, is a different response than gripping onto familiar securities or the authorities that pronounce Ihem.
This is one of the themes of the book. Asking in what sense, along what lines, and with what effects and affects precarity is engendering a politics of survival: a representation of politics oriented toward the ques tion of survival Abeles She advocates instead what I take to be a politics of social life and social survival premised upon the shared condition of precarious ness and the grievability of all life and lives. Precariousness implies living socially, that is, the fact that ones life is always in some sense in the hands of the other.
It implies ex posure both to those we know and to those we do not know; a de pendency on people we know, and to those we do not know. There can be no celebra tion [of a persons life] without an implicit understanding that the life is grievable, that it would be grieved if it were lost, and that this future anterior is installed as the condition of its life.
Without grievability, there is no life or, rather, there is something living that is other than life. A central feature in this reportage is the govern ments figures for casualties based on a selective counting system; certain deaths count, others do not.
This official version leaves particular lives and elements out; it also tames peoples affective response to the violence by distancing and diluting it in various ways. In order to be responsible citi zens, according to Butler, we must resist that daily effort at conscriptionxiv. But such a resistance cannot be at the level of image making alone. While the shock of horrific images, as with Abu Ghraib, might cause outrage, that doesnt suffice for political resistance or utopian excitement in itself Butlerxiv.
Rather, as Butler enjoins us, we must seek new ways to act upon the senses, or to act from them ixthat evokes an af fective reaction with a greater potential for radical change. It is the way that insecurity or precariousness registers on the senses in the first placeas a sense of being out of place, out of sorts, disconnected fuan, fuantei, ibasho ga nai that I take to be the sign, and symptom, of a widespread precarity in twenty-first-century Japan.
Sensing precarity. Precarity that registers deeply in the social senses: of an affective turn to desociality that, for many, feels painfully bad. A place muen shakai, a relationless society where it is difficult to survive and dif ficult to muster up the kind of civic responsibility to sense beyond ones own pain to that shared by others whose deaths are grievableas advo cated by Butler. And this then is part of the pain of being precarious and part of the precariat: having a life that no one grieves upon death and living a precariousness that no one cares to share with you in the here and now.
Ikizurasathe pains or difficulties of lifeis the word activist Amamiya Karin uses to capture the sensory nature of precarious living in con temporary Japan.
She activates particularly for the precariat, workers who are un- and underemployed in irregular jobs hiseikikoyofor whom as she knows from the time spent as one herself it is not only the material insecurities o f uncertain work but the existential nature o f social living that is every bit as, if not more, painful. In Amamiyas case, it was the un certainty o f labor and life rhythms never sure whether she could find work or keep a job even if she found one and the estrangement from on going human relations and recognition shonin not called by name at work and treated as disposable labor that crippled her sense o f self.
What Amamiya describes fits what the Italian autonomist Franco Bifo Berardi calls the alienation of the soul what he sees as the very particular kind of alienation affecting the precariat today. Defining alienation as the re lationship between human time and capitalist value, that is to say. The precariat is seen as a radically new political subject, and alienation is then considered not as the loss of human authenticity, but as estrangement from capitalistic interest, and therefore as a necessary condition for the construction in a space estranged from and hostile to labor relations of an ultimately human relationship Particularly interested in what he calls the cognitive work of late-stage capitalism and the cognitariat the cognitive proletariat, many of whom are part of the precariatwho are the new flexible laborers of this capiPAIN.
Rather, labor is now continual and merges with life that is to say the soul the meanings, desires, affects o f social living which is mined for doing the work o f capital. Thus, for Berardi, the entire lived day becomes subject to a semiotic activation which becomes directly productive only when necessary. While Berardi is focused on cognitive labor and the cognitariat in latestage capitalism, I apply what he argues about soul, alienation, and resis tance the soul on strike, as 1 call it to the condition of precarity and the precariat in twenty-first-century Japan.
A condition I see in not only the post-postwar but the postwar as well: of a relationship between labor and soul that, if differently assembled or disassembled today, stems at least in part from the family-corporate system that started in the late s. If Berardis cognitariat have jobs that eat into their everydayness of whom they text, what they share online, how they spend all their time wired for work and lifethis was certainly true of the sararlman who rarely got home for all the late nights, weekends, and trips spent in the company of his company.
And of the education mama whose motherly routines had to splice discipline into the academic performances she prodded from her kids. When so much of the self and soul gets absorbed into work, the loss of not having that work and longing for it can be all-absorbing as well. In ikizurasa the pain of lifeAmamiya produces a word to signify a condition that has spread in recessionary Japan over the past two decades that overtly stems from un- and underemployment and the social malaise it incurs.
But ikizurasa also indexes a particular relationship, and alien ation, between human time and capitalist value Berardi22 one that predates the current post-bubble moment and spreads beyond those precaritized by irregular work.
In the terrain of social living, this indicates a strain: straining to fit human time, energy, and relationships into a calcu lus of capitalist value. What doesnt fit gets strained or dumped out. This social and human garbage pit is precarity.
And, as the sensory na ture o f precarious living, it is pain and unease. Life that doesnt measure up: a future, and everydayness, as secure as a black box.
This time, I hadnt gone to do fieldwork per se. But, just shy o f. What I did know something about, and had been get ting a sense of over three summers of fieldwork sincewas o f a widely shared uneasiness over an instability and insecurity in life; not having a place that feels steady, not being in a temporality that makes sense.
One word given to this was pain: pain in life ikizurasa and the pain of social loneliness and disbelonging muen shakai. A pain in life symptomatic not only of economic decline but of a capi talism that had attached so much to, and was now festering around, a com plex of belonging to work, family, and state, what is called mai-hdmushugi my-home-ism or a family-oriented way of life.
A pain bred from an understanding of human living that, now strained for many, felt strangled for the nation at large. I heard Japan referred to as lacking a future and fail ing to generate hope in its citizens let alone noncitizensparticularly its youth.
And Japanese, I was told, were losingfor better or worse that sticky relationality of human ties that had been the earmark o f not only traditional culture but the countrys own brand of Toyota-ist capitalism once deemed so successful to be called a miracle economy. These stories, often in fragments or pieces or lines of flight that run into or away from others, are the center of this book. And because they involve persons more fraflured than grounded by pre cariousness and because of the nature of precarity itselfof uneasiness, uncertainty, risks, or retreat in sociality with others I try to maintain, rather than weed out, these senses of my precarious subjects.
The book is short and not intended to be either exhaustive or linear. Rather, 1am more interested in entering the pain messy, murky, and meandering as it may be and touching the circumstances, the conditions, and the everyday effects and affects of how precarity gets lived.
This is the ethnography 1do, gathering stories from not only encounters, conversations, interviews, or events that I was party to but also news accounts, books, movies, television specials, manga and anime, and stories passed on from others. Much of what I track about precarity involves pain, but this is not all I have learned or come to understand about precarious Japan.
For, if hope is the vision of the future in a state of becoming, I see signs of not only. Few of these people care for the word hope, I discovered. But in trying to survive a condition of precarity that is increasingly shared, one can see a glim mer in these attempts of something new: different alliances and attach ments, new forms of togetherness. One can sense, if one senses optimistically, an emergent potential in attempts to humanly and collectively survive precarity: a new form of commonwealth commonly remaking the wealth of socialitya biopoli tics from below.
This social and political possibility I call the soul on strike in precarious Japan. And after six weeks of being there about which I write in the last chapter and have used to reshape the entire book, if mainly at both endsI was headed home late July. On the plane that dayJuly 24 I felt shaken, a bit shattered, confused about all the differ ent strands and edges to this newest wave of precariousness hitting Japan.
The vast majority of Japanese now reported to be against nuclear energy, even joining protests some for the first time to demonstrate support for cutbacks in energy production on which the neon-generated lifestyle of postwar Japan has been so heavily dependent in favor of a more envi ronmentally safe well-being for the population.
But, if this could be read as progressive, far more reactionary responses were in evidence as well. There were charges of un-Japaneseness, for example, against those in. Fukushima who not otherwise evacuated chose to flee homes or make lunches for their children so they wouldnt have to be exposed to the food made at school. In an ongoing series on what it called Japans country of solitude, Asahi Shimbun was reporting on the change in peoples connections to one another and the rise o f those isolated from society altogether July 24, But, as it continued, this is hardly a phenomenon unique to the current crisis; in Tokyo alone ten people die from lonely death kodokushi every day.
In a society where 31 percent of the population lives alone, A fault line opened up that was deepened, but not created, by the disaster. The article moves into a juxtaposition of two human stories. The first is of a forty-four-year-old man found sitting alone on a bench in a municipal city park in Sendai Miyagi Prefecture close to midnight, staring at the sky.
A small day pack by his side, hes a laborer from Nagoya seeking work. As if drawn by the earthquake, many visit the site where it hit. For this one, the earthquake represents an opportunity. Hed been working temp haken jobs but had been on unemployment welfare since last year.
In Sendai he hoped to do rubble removal gareki sori but found work dis mantling houses instead. Next he aimed to head to Fukushima to join reconstruction work fukkyu sagyo in the area of the nuclear reactors.
But they had all the workers they needed right now, hed been told. So hed try for the next slot. The reporter said hed call the next day. But when he did, there was no answer. The next story takes place in the center of town, Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture in a wooden one-story house where a couple in their seven.
They had no contact koryu with their neighbors, not even their landlord knew anything about them except that they were on welfare. A few days later their bodies were carted away in blue vinyl sheets.
Unable to find the names of any relatives miuchi in their belong ings, the police couldnt contact next of kin or even confirm the couples identities. In April police contacted the landlord seeking his help in veri fying their names," but he couldnt help them. At last the names of these victims are getting recognized. Following these two stories, the article mentions a recent survey, con ducted online with ten thousand respondents living in Japan in June.
Re sults from the survey were telling: 80 percent responded that they felt in secure fuan about the future of this country, and 70 percent responded that they felt that the one-to-one connections tsunagari between people are very important.
Summing up, the article concludes that its up to us. The earthquake has keenly revealed problems in Japanese society. Will a new course be taken? Can we choose to do so?
This is the crossroads for a country o f solitude. A crossroads. The earthquake as an opportunity. O f quite different kinds. For the precariat it is the opportunity to work in the nuclear clean up business, where they court danger, possibly death, but more money than other precarious employment. And for us it is an opportunity to open up the networks of social connection to make the lives of those who have nobody else to give them recognition no family, no company, Code:Breaker / Uncle P - Saturated EP (Vinyl), no town grievable upon death.
These are the issuessensing precarity I take up in Precarious Japan. Postwar Japan was an era and nation-state of incredible successes: high paced economic growth, sustained industrial output, creative genius in new-age consumer electronics, global acclaim as a rising postindustrial power, and, at the heart, was a system of lifelong attachments for the Japa nese.
Starting at school, this system carried over into work and marriage and was clearly mapped by a gendered division of labor: women were to be managers of the family and home, and men were to give their all to the workplace.
Postwar Japan is sometimes nicknamed Japan, Inc. This marriage is now falling apart, and the lifelong temporality of be longing has fallen into rhythms of a very different sort.
In this chapter I. The Postwar: High Economic Growth, Corporate Familism, "My-Hom e-ism " After its failures at militarism in the Second World War, Japan replaced empire building overseas with a social economy of high growth and ma terial prosperity at home. Rebuilding itself as an industrial producer of high-tech manufacturing, japan succeeded by becoming a world eco nomic power by the s. The state organized its enterprise society around the three pillars of family, corporation, and school which echoed the three sacred imperial regalia of mirror, sword, and jewela structure that was rewarded and enforced by the mass-consumer culture emerging at the same time.
This edifice not only fed Japans economy as an indus trial producer and global power but also supplied Japans middle class with secure jobs, steady incomes, and high-priced consumer lifestyles. Indeed, by the end of the s, a vast majority of citizens self-identified as middle class, sharing a vision of a good life that seemed reachable to a great many people.
A designation closely linked to heteronormative family and an in creasingly nuclearized one, a good life and success at it was calibrated in large part by familial roles.
For a man, this meant providing for family; for a woman, it meant raising children and running the home; and for a child, it meant studying hard, excelling academically, and acquiring a job and family of ones own as an adult. But family, in the postwar buildup of corporate capitalism, became not only the seat of hard work and high performance, but it also fed consump tion as the site of a new kind of home: a privatized, domestic space filled with consumer electronics washing machines, electric fans, and a family car parked outside.
It also operated according to strict gender roles; the financial running of the household depended on the male wage, while the domes tic management of its everydayness from making food to balancing the budget fell to the woman.
The enterprise society ran similarly on gender. This meant that core workers, given a family wage, were primarily men. This also meant that corporate capitalism, nestled with the family, consti tuted a family corporate system kazoku kigyd kan kankei; Kimoto35 that benefited from the pool o f cheap labor provided by women confined, when they did work, to low-paid, mainly part-time jobs.
The feeling of moving forward and progressively improving as a na tion, a family, an individual infused the national ethos and hopes of the times. Certainly, not everyone had a job with lifetime employment or was married to someone who did; no more than about 30 percent of working men had these mainly white-collar positions in middle- to large-sized cor porations.
Yet by75 percent o f household heads identified as sarariman Roberson and Suzukia term for salaried worker that carries, and underscores, the ideological centrality o f the middle-class, hetero sexual citizen worker in postwar Japan Gottfried These jobs in or close to corporate Japan signaled a sense of accomplishment and identifi cation even with the state. I recall a sararlman telling me in the early s about the stretch of long hours of overtime he was then putting in at the office.
Sometimes he stayed up all night or slept at his desk. But no, he wasnt getting extra pay, he told me. And no, this didnt make him resent his company. As he explained to me, the American, naive about Japanese work culture, I am doing this for my company.
And for Japan. The sac rifice signaled both duty and honor and also was just part of the job. Be cause, as the cliche goes about the sararlman, he didnt work for Toyota, he belonged to Toyota. And belonging gave the male worker his location in social place; having a job became his identitythe affiliation stamped on meishi business cards acquired so voraciously when meeting some one new. The affiliation also consumed ever more of his actual life.
Aspirationally, middle-class workers bought my-homes in the suburbs, which meant long commutes to the workplace and less time for family, neigh bors, or anything not related to work itself. The family-corporate system linked a particular structure of work to one of family and home, operating on a principle of what Lee Edelman has called reproductive futurism.
At the heart of the modern polity, this is the notion that hard work today yields a better tomorrow: the modernist belief in progress staked on the child as the obligatory token of futurity. Edelman 2 0 0 412 - in postwar Japan this was corporate familism operat ing as blueprint for the nation-state econom ic productivity driving and driven by re productivity at home, futures made for children, and the child as familial and national investment.
As Edelman notes, such an ide ology undergirds those in the normative center but consigns those who fail to measure up those insufficiently productive or unwilling or unable to have children to the social dustbin. W hen the child embodies the telos o f the social order, the very logic within which the political itself must be thought Edelman2then the refusal or failure to reproduce gets read as no future the title of Edelmans book.
The prospect of no futurity for a shrinking nation-state will have reso nance later when we consider how the complicity o f family and corpora tion has imploded in recent times in such precarious forms as h ikikom ori: youths who, failing to be re productive outside the home, withdraw into solitary existences that would seem the ultimate perversion o f Japan, Inc. W ith the hikikomori the home has failed to produce a productive child w hoby becoming a sararlman or education mama takes part in the national contract o f econom ic growth.
W hoever or whatever is to blame the corporation, the family, the nation-state, Japanese youthsthe specter o f no future Japan provokes anxiety, some o f which is intentionally and ideologically provoked. When it worked, though, the family-corporate system drove the social economy.
It accompanied Japans rapid urbanization and postindustrial ization in the second half of the twentieth century. This is when, following the war that devastated and emptied the cities, the Japanese soon returned in ever higher numbers, leaving the land for jobs and life in urban cen ters.
By72 percent had become wage laborers, 70 percent lived Code:Breaker / Uncle P - Saturated EP (Vinyl) big cities, and only 9 percent remained farmers a reduction by half since the s. Incomes rapidly increased; in urban households they rose more than sixteen times between and With the demand for a highly educated workforce, raising children revolved around having fewer chil dren and schooling them well. By family size had decreased to five and went to 3. Division of labor was gendered. Men worked and brought home the paychecktheir primary responsibility as breadwinners.
This meant that a wife, much as a boss, expected men to make work their primary commitment of time, energy, and affective in. Women, in turn, stayed home and managed the household, the children, and caregivingtheir reproductive bargain Gottfried Though the number of working women increased over time and, bymore wives of white-collar workers were working than notit was typi cally in part-time jobs, particularly after women had resumed work upon leaving it at childbirth or marriage mandatory practice except in some professions like schoolteachers until the law made it illegal inand one that 80 percent of Japanese women still follow today upon having a child.
In the form it developed following the Second World War, the family not only embedded socioeconomic relations, it served as the hidden capi tal of the Japanese economy Takeda Family along with the corporation became the basis of Japans welfare society, assuming this responsibility so the state could cut back on welfare spending, as it did following the oil shock in Takeda Family modeled and fed Japans emerging enterprise societywork relations that were family-like and allowed men to work long hours, making them virtually nonexistent at home Yoda Family also yielded a source of cheap labor in the way of married women who, when returning to the workforce while also raising children, did so in low-paid, peripheral jobs a locally bred labor force performing the kind of work largely assumed by foreign migrants in other industrialized countries.
In all three ways in terms of Japanese wel fare, Japanese management style nihonteki keieiand a peripheral labor force the family constituted an important asset to the postwar capitalis tic state. But the family is not what is usually credited for the countrys high eco nomic growth and miracle economy of the s and s. Rather, it is the Japanese management style: those industrial practices now iconic of post-Fordist Japanjust-in-time production, lean production Toyotaismquality circles.
But Japanese management style also indexes those business strategies intended to foster sticky socio-affective ties between worker and workplace. As mentioned already, these included lifetime em ployment, wages based on seniority rather than merit, and all-company unions: practices that targeted only certain workers core, maleshoring up a system less of lean production than of lean and dual, Beverly Sil vers term for Japan, Inc.
Though historically recent. As Prime M inister Ohira famously announced at a policy meeting inJapans econom ic system is different because it is founded on its unique culture that, unlike Western modernity, privileges the communal values of aid ag ara human relations and respect. A survival from traditional cul ture, this, as Ohira asserted, is what gives Japan its competitive edge, rep resenting an alternative more humane and advanced form o f capi talism Harootunian Dependency, performance, and affect melded in a very particular ar chitecture in these Japanese relationships of nestled family and corpo rate belonging.
Men worked at companies ideally for life, creating a bond that extended beyond work to the personal and everyday. A company man ka ish a ningen would devote not only long hours to work but also evenings, weekends, and vacations to leisure golf, karaoke, drinking spent in the company of fellow workers.
At once a duty and a perk, such work-sponsored entertainment affectively blurred the boundaries be tween labor and life Allison Such outings also kept a man from home where complementary webs of duty and dependence spun around mother and child ren. Women gained recognition for producing children who achieved high academic performances by demonstrating extraordi nary output and discipline even as toddlers.
But for the education mama, this was a full-time job that seeped into everything from the lunchboxes sent to school to the games played before bed Allison Routine caregiving became embedded with this second nature: using and embel lishing everyday rituals as a means to extract and reward output. Because a womans identity, and social capital, merged with that o f a husband but also that of a child, mothers worked hard at love. If she succeeded mea sured by how well a child did at every stage along the life coursea woman gained recognition.
If the child failed, a mother was held accountable. Just as in the work sphere, the home knitted an affect of care with that of duty and performance. The two spheres played off one another, nes tling social relations of leisure, loyalty, love with those of capital, labor, and school.
As the sociologist Nakane Chie famously claimed in Tate shak a i no ningen ka n k ei Human Relations in a Vertical Societypublished. This meant that, like family, the human and humane attachments of aidagara oozed stickiness but were anchored by a structure of differen tiation as well what Nakane called tate hierarchy or verticality.
This is the difference that defines every relationship older and younger brother, boss and employee, teacher and studentdictating the appropriate be havior of each party the inferior obeys and respects the superior, who takes charge but also care of the inferior.
According to Francis Fuku yamawho admires it as culturally Japanese, this dynamic ensures trust in the workplace. Modeled on the family, the affect o f dependence amae is transferred to the workplacea transference that, in the thesis proposed by the psychiatrist Doi Takeoassumes special saliency and longevity in Japan. Staging a helplessness and desire to be taken care of modeled on the in fants relationship with the mother, even adults will amaeru on authority figures.
Whereas Doi posited amae as a cultural principle and was criti cized for endorsing cultural essentialism nihonjinron, or unique Japaneseness he also felt it had spread too deeply in postwar times, making the Japanese overly attached to the caregiving of their intimate authority figures. Worried that the Japanese were growing too insular, too fixated on their own needs, and too compliant in deferring to those in charge, Doi along with other cultural critics criticized the excessive maternal prin ciple nestled in the familial relations of both workplace and home Yoda But goading subjects into hard work by enveloping them in a cru cible of dependency, whether through consumer treats for studious kids or company perks for the sararlman in a hostess club, was part and parcel of the policies undertaken by Japan, Inc.
And until it was dismantled by the neoliberal restructuring platform of Koizumi in as an obstacle to economic reform, its embrace has been seen as critical to the countrys postwar success and its Japanese-style capitalism.
Writing incritic Asada Akira argued that dependency produces an infantilization at the very heart of Japans capitalist form. In what he called infantile capitalism, the Japanese are driven to be competitive by remaining docile and perpetually cared for, a type o f subjectivity quite at odds with the self-reliance fostered by mature capitalisms elsewhere: in Japan, there are neither tradition-oriented old people adhering to tran scendental values nor inner-oriented adults who have internalized their values; instead, the nearly purely relative or relativistic competition ex F RO M L I F E L O N G TO L I Q U I D J AI AN.
Rather than viewing dependency as a cultural sur vival from the past, however, Asada viewed it as the cutting edge of exploit ative capitalism a cutting edge that catapulted Japan to the heights of global prestige as an industrial power.
That is, until it didnt cut it anymore. See ing it as an obstacle to economic growth, neoliberal reformers urged the dismantling o f the Japanese management style. But the indictment went deeper, charging that dependency culture created unhealthy interdepen dent relationships that hinder individuals from exercising initiative and developing entrepreneurship Takeda Under its new banner of risk and individual responsibility risuku tojiko sekininthe govern ment asked its citizens to remake their subjectivity to become strong and independent individuals capable of bearing the heavy weight of freedom qtd.
Such a makeover to a leaner cultural style ap plauds risks. But as the interdependencies that once grounded work and well-being are undone, many people are left in the lurch. Meanwhile, the state has yet to pick up the slack left by the withering of the old familycorporate system where it shoved responsibility for welfare at the onset of its high-growth economic surge. By the s the super stable society started morphing into some thing else: its era of unsafe nationalism fuantei nashyonarizumu no jidaias the political scientist fakahara Motoaki describes post postwar Japan.
Labor sits at the heart of this, shifting from one work model lifelong, family-linked, associated with Japanese Fordism and miraculous economic growth to another short-term, individual, associated with flex ible labor, decline, and precarity. However, flexible labor wasnt entirely new in the s. At the end of the s and when the bubble was still strong taking on short-term, free-floating jobs became something of a lifestyle option even for middle-class youths.
Called Hfu r ita 2 the concept was spurred in part by a clever ad campaign by the temp company Recruit, which promoted it as new-age alternative to the work-for-life trajectory o f sararlman. Even before that, howeverand before the furita phenomenon Japan, Inc. These were the ranks o f peripheral versus core workers who could be activated upon demand, lending the lean production of Toyota-ism a much-valued flexi bility for its trademark just-in-time production.
Mainly part-time workers largely women and contract workers largely men of a certain class or in clination, such as dropouts o f the academic credentializing societythis peripheral labor force was strategically important to Japans miracle econ omy.
But, as David Slater points out, these workers were never called fu rita nor given the public attention targeted at furita,3 by either critics who have blamed them and their laziness for Japans unproductivity today or activists like Amamiya Karin, who advocate for furita under the rubric of the precariat Driscoll This will be addressed in greater detail later.
The bubble burst in As stagnation and recession set in, companies began to downsize, restructure, or merge with other companies. Layoffs and unemployment rose, and as the hiring o f regular core employees fell, that o f irregular workers sharply increased.
Temporary work h ak ensparking in the s from 87, tobetween and continued to grow in the s, doubling between and G ott fried In this glacial age o f hiring, youths were particularly hard hit, becom ing the lost generation in Japans lost decade.
W hen able to do so, companies tended to hold onto their more senior workers rather than hire young ones under the assumption that older men had families to support and that keeping the primary breadwinners salary safe meant safety for the nation. Replacing the job-for-life, family-based model o f work came one o f more flexible, results-based employment.
Trying to lay claim for what was a radical transformation, Nikkeiren officially announced in that these labor shifts constituted a new cultural moment the new era in Japanese-style management shinjidai no nihonteki k eiei. Under this new regime of labor nicknamed labors big bang, or rodo biggu banwhat is productive of and for capitalism is no longer the family or the long l ' R O M 1.
ONC, T O 1. Rather, it is the detached, adapt able, and self-responsible individual a deterritorialized, decentered, de collectivized subject. Neoliberal Millennium: Structural Reform in Labor and Home A decade after the bursting of the bubble, things hadnt yet bounced back. The economy showed no signs of improving and crises on other fronts were multiplying as well. The Liberal Democratic Party.
And, in the wake of a series of scandals involving a number of powerful ministries and compounded by divisive party poli tics, a mood set in o f political chaos that some saw as political paraly sis Takeda A number of social trends stoked fears as well.
The low birthrate continued to plummet, as did concern about the strain this placed on the national pension fund, future productivity, and caregiving for the worlds fastest-aging population. Kindled by the economic down turn and insecurity over jobs, levels of panic, depression, and anxiety rose nationwide, peaking in a dramatic increase in suicide, starting into about 33, deaths a yeara number that has remained at this level ever since.
A moral panic raged around youths, who tended to be blamed for the precarity of the new economic order and the nonproductivity of Japan itself, through news stories of young girls engaged in compen sated dating, youth violence, hedonistic consumer spending, the furita work pattern, and significant numbers of both hikikomori and.
It was also a time when a chasm opened up in the ontology of place where and to whom people connect and what attachments accord rec ognition and identity. As the family disarticulates from work, and both become riddled by insecurity, the contradiction mujun between the former family system and the current economic system strains the social placeness of family and work Yamada and ShirakawaThis produces what Yamada takes to be precarious social deformations, neither good for society nor for the indi vidual, such as the young furita who dont marry and the rising ranks of n k et.
Japanese workers were already facing a downward wage pressure due to a number o f factors in the market and the fact that companies were rely ing increasingly on irregular workers and automation to save costs : mar ket competition from the newly industrialized economies in Asia, grow ing pressure from external shareholders, and low or zero interest rates Chatani To secure the economy and shock it out of its malaise, the country was asked to cut back further.
Adopting neoliberalist rheto ric and appointing the neoliberal economist Takenaka Heizo as minister in chargeKoizumi presented his structural reform. Launching further measures to deregulate labor allowing contract work, for example, to be extended from one to three years and into areas of work once limited to regular employeesto impose results -based employment seikashugiwhich, overturning seniority-based employment, had been adopted by But this was the price the nation needed to pay to streamline and stimu late the economy.
And pay it did as higher levels o f precarity hit the Japanese at once. Yet, as noted by the activist Yuasa Makoto, much of this was initially hid den by making certain segments of the population shoulder the burden.
Ihose most at risk and most likely to become irregular workersare youths, women, those with less academic credentials and relatedly, those from lower-class backgrounds and from single-parent householdsfor eign migrants, and, increasingly, men in their fifties.
In one-third of all workers but half of all youths were irregular workers, a significant shift even from the end of the s. Irregular workers are prey to precarity, F R O M 1.
This accounts for the fact that Deregulation has also allowed companies to hire workers to do what is essentially the work of regular employees, paying them signifi cantly less part-time workers typically make only percent what regular workers make doing the same work Tachibanaki Given that contract work can now be extended for three years without pay raise or insuranceirregular workers are kept on in lieu of hiring permanent workers.
Stuck at a low pay level, irregular workers are often unprotected at the workplace as well; easily replaced and fired, their rights are minimal at best. And working mothers who leave the job market to raise children 80 percent of whom do so upon the birth of their first child are penalized by both the national pension system, which only kicks in after twenty five years of contributions by a worker, and the social security sysliin, into which a worker and company each contribute half but only, in lhe 1 use ol pari-timers, if they are working three-fourths time Kamuro M.
Needl ess lo say, single households are one of the poorest contingeni. Notable as well is the fact that only 2 percent of children in Japan are born out of wedlock. Oddly, the government does not keep its own statistics on the number of poor. When confronted by news reporters about such troubling signs as rising unemployment, homelessness, and citizens angst in his country, Koizumi was dismissive. Attributing poverty to two groups foreign mi grants and Japanese lacking in self-responsibility Code:Breaker / Uncle P - Saturated EP (Vinyl) found no reason to find fault with anything his government was or was not doing.
Similarly curt was Koizumis reply when asked in the Diet Japans national legisla ture about the downturn o f Japans middle class and its transformation into a polarized society of socioeconomic difference kakusa shakai. Dif ference?
Admitting to a big dis parity between poverty and wealth in Japan after the turn of the century, he attributed this to a differential in the degree of industriousness ganbaru that people are willing to expend TachibanakiBut socio economic disparity is critical to something the government, and certainly the public, is deeply interested in: social reproduction.
For, as is evident from the work of reverse-poverty activists like Yuasa Makoto and schol ars o f the family, labor, and the economy such as Miyamoto Michiko and Yamada Masahiro, those on the lower end of the job and life security spec trum today are far less likely to marry, have children, or be in a position to either give or receive care when old or in need. In short, while the overall social trends are away from marriage and family divorce is up, childbirth is down, and more are marrying later or not at allall o f this is particularly true for those in the least secure jobs today.
Studies show that, due to economic insecurity, women are loathe to marry furita, and male irregular workers are half as likely as regular workers to get married. Those in a position to have what once constituted the social contract of postwar Japan hard work today tied to marriage, home, and progressive prosperity for children tomorrowtend to be lim ited to those with regular employment.
What was such an ordinary life style hitonarni no seikatsu has now become a privilege of a diminishing minority who, even then, often need both spouses to work, which poses its own problems of balancing work and life with kids if there are any.
But my-home-ism still signifies belonging and place, the comforts of being somewhere and being normal a utopianism all its own, as Berlant notes, about the longing for aspirational normativity, particularly when. Such a home evokes hope, according to Yamadaand as home eludes the grasp of more and more Japanese, so does the capacity to be hopeful what he calls in his book by the same title a differential hope society or a society of hope disparity, kibo kakusa shakai.
Japan is becoming a place where hope has become a privilege of the socioeconomically secure. For the rest o f them the widening pool of losers even the wherewithal to imagine a differ ent there and then beyond the precarious here and now stretches thin.
To Make Live or Let Die. I think that one o f the greatest tran sform ation s the political right und erw ent in the nineteenth century was precisely that, I w o u ld n t say exactly that so vereign tys old right to take life or let live was replaced, but it cam e to be com plem ented by a new right w hich does not erase the old right but w hich does penetrate it, perm eate it.
This is the right, or rather precisely, the opposite right. It is the pow er to m ake live and let die. A n d then this new right is established: the right to m ake live and to let d ie FoucaultW hat does this new tech n ology o f power, this biopolitics, this biopow er that is beginn in g to establish itself, involve? Foucault Complicit in its troubled social condition are its demographics: Japans shift to a shoshikoreika shoshika, low birthrate; koreika, fast-aging society.
At both ends of the spectrum the population is getting stretched: stretched thin by a low birthrate and stretched tight by the care needs of its elderly, more and more of whom are living longer.
The birthrate, low for twenty years, is the lowest yet today: 7. Hong Kong, which ranks at the bottom with 7. Fer tilitythe births women average is low as well; the all-time low was 1. The population, , people today, which started to fall in absolute terms inis expected to shrink by one-third by Additionally, the segment of those working who are between fif. Icon and sixty-tour is expected to decrease to half by The decline of the real numbers and increase in age of the population put both the pro ductivity and economic growth of the country at risk.
As is commonly voiced in the mass media and by public officials, shoshikoreika is threaten ing the country with the loss o f its competitive edge in the global economy. As striking as its low birthrate lower than any other country except one is Japans life expectancy rate the highest in the world ; for men the average is Even with one of the lowest infant mortality rates the third lowest in the worldhuman life in the biological sense has a harder time actually coming into existence than surviving into old age in the country.
Human life is dying slowly, and just as slowly, getting re born a reality that confounds reproductive futur ism and makes Japans shrinking population a state that is perceived by many as one o f slow death [Berlant35].
For if staking national vitality in the image o f the child was once plotted as the horizon o f futurity, that investment now conjures up no future: a specter raised by the sea o f old people and scarcity o f newborns in twenty-first-century Japan.
Meanwhile, old people themselves are getting older; those over seventy-five are expected to out number those between the ages o f sixty-five and seventy-four by the year. While other countries such as the United Kingdom, China, Singapore, and South Korea are facing similar demographics, Japan is graying faster than any o f these. It also has the dubious distinction of making the tran sition from an aging society a population with 8 percent elderly to an aged society 14 percent elderlyas defined by the.
Amassing population at the upper, rather than lower, end o f the age demographic chart puts obvious strains on the economy in terms of both productive output a shrinking workforce and decrease in those contrib uting taxes and social reproductivity a rise in those needing care in com parison to those who can, or are willing, to give it. As the labor force shifts a decrease in core workers to more flexible and irregular employ.
This means that less money is entering the coffers for pensions and social security: a huge issue in the mass media already and one generating a high degree o f anxiety, particularly given the mismanagement o f the pension funds in and the raising o f the official age at which one can start withdrawing welfare pension insurance from 60 to 61 inwhich will rise to 65 by the year There are fewer workers today to support the elderly: a decrease in what is called the dependency ratio.
Predicted to be only 1. As the labor force shrinks, its shape and composition are morphing as well, not only to more flexible and irregular jobs but also to a later re tirement age officially, the retirement age is now sixty, and 20 percent of those over the age of sixty-five work high for many developed coun tries and to attempts made to incorporate more women under 50 percent of the labor force, which is low compared to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Yet even when immigration laws were relaxed in and efforts made to target foreigners of Japanese descent nikkci; particularly from Brazilthe attempt has largely failed: a failure spectacularized by the governments follow-up campaign to pay for the airfare and a bonus to send nikkei workers back to their countries of origin upon losing their jobs a move found insulting by those not-quite Japanese it targeted.
And in the field of care, the situation is stranger yet. In a country with a care deficit that is worsening by the minute, the government initiated bilateral agreements with both the Philippines and Indonesia in to bring over nurses and nursing care workers. Yet it imposed such stringent restrictions to pass, within three years o f entering the country, a difficult qualifying exam in Japanese that only 1. The im plica. If the child signifies potential a forthcoming of growth, productivity, and futuritythe elderly signals deficit, the pro gressive decline of vitality whose fullness is past.
Not only does the tem porality of life differ here, so does its economics: what one requires and extracts in order to live and what one produces or yields in the course of living itself. Despite comprising only 20 percent of the population at the time, medical costs for those aged sixty-five and older were five times what younger Japanese spent in and amounted to half the total health care spending in the country Suzuki The drain on the national econ omy from a contingency that is past or close to retirement, in need of more health care paid largely by the stateand whose numbers are only rising and quickly is obvious what Foucault might call an endemic in the biopower of late capitalist Japan.
National coffers are getting eaten up by the costs of keeping so many elderly alive, a slow economic death brought on, at least in part, by the countrys slowly dying elderly, and so many of them. The dilemma has prompted the government to reassess its national health care system, which, created at the onset of the flush period of the postwar economy inprovided universal access with a sliding payment scale to national health insurance and, over time, free access for citizens over seventy.
With the state underwriting so much coverage, the system has promoted gross inefficiencies. Affordable treatment invited overuse, payment structures for doctors encouraged over-prescriptions and extended hospital stays, and the introduction o f expensive medical technologies contributed to skyrocketing medical costs Economist Intel ligence Unit In what has become a culture of medicalization and prescription pop ping, successive administrations have tried to contain health costs and institute reform.
Through endless campaigns such as the Gold Plan in and the New Gold Plan inwhere gold indexed money as much as old agethe government has shifted more responsibility to the indi vidual in the way of copayments even for the elderly and introduced measures to restructure care away from doctors and hospitals to more home-based care with subsidiary facilities and services to accommodate this.
Couched in a rhetoric of quality of life and living independently, this turn to individual responsibility jiko sekinin and return to family or household is the signature of governmental attempts to privatize care and cut back on state spending.
In the face of state retreat and increased. In20 percent of all households failed to pay insurance premiums and lost full insurance coverage. By drastically slashing social secu rity spending 70 percent of which is expended on the elderly and putting a cap on how much the spending could increase each year, this marked the beginning of a new era in Japan: iryo h o k a ithe fall of the health care sys tem.
Meanwhile, in the wake of a new insurance scheme that incentivized the private health care industry the same year, the care market is taking off. Immediately,new companies materialized seeking to service a consumer demand that is certain to only increase Economist Intelli gence Unit Yet in a business plagued by poor working conditions and low ser vice fees as mandated by the government, the turn to privatization has only piqued citizens concerns over the quality and availability of afford able health care.
Troubling images of lonely elderly, relationless subjects, overstressed mothers who kill or abandon their children fill the airwaves. Meanwhile the government calls to retract federal funding and to shift health care away from doctors, hospitals, and medicine to the everyday lifestyles and personal households o f the individual. So, back to home, and to making health and care more homelike. This was one o f the major pro posals to emerge out of a special task force conducted by the prime ministers cabinet: to devise a bold plan to implement more efficiency in the system and to improve available health care.
Salty Dog - Eric L. Brittain - Gypsy Cowboy (CD, Album), Blockbuster - The Sweet - Hit-Singles (CD), Mysterious Mose, Kronol - Noah Reddington - THE MADNESS EP (File), Aloha Oe, Dangerous Bacon - Stackridge - The Man In The Bowler Hat (CD, Album), Mirror Lake - Idrees Sulieman - Now Is The Time (CD, Album), Let Me Entertain You - Various - The 90s (The Ultimate 90s Hits Collection) (CD)